Storm crews get to work in Maryland
(WJLA) - Bowie resident Diane Martone says the key to handling this weather is being prepared.
"I've got PJ's, I've got flannel long johns -- everything on underneath here -- and two pairs of socks," she says. And Martone even has a technique for shoveling: "I don't use my back -- I just push and kick."
Martone is pushing and kicking about three inches of snow on Friday, and with the wind blowing hard and the air temperature in the teens, the cold is biting.
Meanwhile, Chris Berry has no choice but to work in it. He picks up recyclables for Anne Arundel County.
"Man, it is terrible, very bad; it's a lot snow out here and look at me, I'm cold freezing, don't know what to do," he says.
Here in Anne Arundel County, there is visibly more snow -- about six inches to be more exact. And while the main roads are now clear, there is evidence still today of how bad it was on Thursday night -- there is a BMW in a ditch.
It's also so cold that truckers are having a hard time with their rigs.
"I got a frozen brake right now, trying to get it freed up," says Dave LeBlanc.
That’s a job that calls for mechanic Logan Swift, who says he’s been on call after (freezing) call.
Meanwhile in Montgomery County, the winter storm dumped between two and five inches of snow on Montgomery County. To no surprise, accumulations were greater in the northern, more rural portions of the county.
Around 3 p.m. Thursday, Montgomery County's fleet of salt and plow trucks hit area streets, preparing the pavement for an onslaught of precipitation. By 4 p.m., flakes were reported in Rockville and points north.
Despite a strong salting and snow removal effort throughout Thursday night, Montgomery County Public Schools cancelled Friday classes for the district's 150,000 students. It marked the third snow day so far this school year, of which four days are allotted for weather cancellations. Beside students, non-essential county employees were given liberal leave Friday, allowed certain county workers to stay home without prior supervisor approval.
From Piney Branch Road to Poolesville, most private-sector residents woke-up, bundled-up and then hit the driveway before heading to work.
"I'm shoveling this beautiful snow," Gaithersburg resident Bette Cox exclaimed with a shovel in hand. "I'm from New York state so I love the winter."
In Montgomery Village, snowy streets didn't halt Friday garbage pick-up, but did lead to a serious wreck near the intersection of Montgomery Village Avenue and Wightman Road. Around 10 a.m., police say a Quality Air & Heating van slammed into the back of a 60,000 pound salt truck, which was contracted with Montgomery County. The collision totaled the HVAC van and snapped-off the salt spreader, but miraculously neither driver was injured.
"The man in the van was very lucky. He's a small guy, like 5'3". Had he been big like me, this would have been a whole lot worse," a Montgomery County police officer said on-the-scene.
According to police, the HVAC technician claimed the bright morning sun blinded his vision, and consequently caused him to rear-end the salt truck, which was stopped alongside Wightman Road with its hazard lights on.
Montgomery County's Department of Transportation says unlike Snowmageddon, it wasn't the snowfall, but ice and wind, which caused complications this time around.
"Everything is re-freezing so we're constantly going back over what we've already done to keep the traveling public safe," MCDOT district supervisor Bill Meade said.
Safe from the element, dispatchers at four different depots (Bethesda, Colesville, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring), kept in constant communication with drivers on all 214 county snow routes.
"A lot of coffee is what keeps me going," dispatcher Rosa Garcia, who arrived at work around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, quipped by Friday afternoon.
During mandatory breaks, drivers enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at fully-stocked cafeterias inside certain depots.
"Basically it keeps the guys going," MCDOT cook Cliff Chambers said. "Once we get lunch out of the way, we've got to prep for dinner. Once dinner is out of the way, we've got to prep for breakfast."
The state-of-the-art Gaithersburg location, which opened in 2013, houses multiple sound-proof bunk rooms and locker rooms as many drivers remain on the clock for multiple days at a time.
According to MCDOT, crews will remain on roadways until 8 p.m. Friday, tackling drifting snow and freezing pavement on emergency routes like Randolph and Shady Grove Roads. Drivers will then use Saturday to recuperate with a chance for more snow forecast for Sunday.
"This is what we do, we chose to do this, to serve and make sure the traveling public is safe," Meade concluded.